The Doctors: What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
21-year-old Linda had her first period when she was 12. When she was 14, her periods became painful and irregular. Her doctors told her she had cysts on her ovaries and diagnosed her with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, an endocrine disorder that causes an imbalance of hormones in the body and causes hair growth. Linda has hair on her chin, thighs, stomach, and on her thighs. When she shaves it, it grows back quickly.
When she was a kid, they called her Chewbacca because of the hair growth and she actually dropped out of school because of it. PCOS occurs in 5 to 20 percent of women and can cause changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle, cysts on the ovaries and fertility complications. It can also lead to serious health problems if left untreated such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. Losing weight can help stabilize the hormone imbalance, but Linda said no matter how hard she tries, she can’t lose weight.
Linda reached out to The Doctors for help.
The Drs: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment
Dr. Jennifer Ashton met with Linda about her PCOS and to see what the next step is. Dr. Ashton said that PCOS has caused an elevated level of testosterone in her body, which causes the hair growth and the acne. Linda told Dr. Ashton that she has a boyfriend and he’ll even shave her back if she needs him to. But she also said that her PCOS has affected every part of her life, including relationships and professional situations.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton said that it’s critical to maintain a regular period, because if the periods are spread too far apart, it can make the lining of the uterus abnormal, which is a risk factor for cancer. Women with PCOS have a 5 to 7 increased risk of developing Type II Diabetes. If Linda loses just five percent of her body weight, she can make a huge difference and reverse being pre-diabetic.
The Doctors: Living With PCOS
Linda said she was very happy to be on the show and gain knowledge she didn’t have before about PCOS. In order to help Linda manage her weight and health, The Doctors talked to Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist, who said she would work with her to help her diet and put her a medication that would help her with her pre-diabetes and help her with her weight loss. The Doctors also gave Linda six months free at Snap Fitness, a gym in Linda’s neighborhood, along with some personal training.
The Doctors: Laser Hair Removal Surgery
The Doctors also enlisted the help of Dr. Kevin Johnson, a cosmetic surgeon, who agreed to give Linda laser hair removal surgery. Dr. Johnson used the Cynosure Vectus Hair Removal Laser to remove the hair quickly and efficiently. It was simply a matter of shooting the laser at Linda’s face in a few quick swipes.
Dr. Johnson said that PCOS patients often have to undergo several laser hair removal treatments, far more than a normal patient. He said PCOS patients are tricky that way. Dr. Johnson said he wanted to give Linda six free hair removal treatments. Hair removal surgery came be anything from a couple hundred dollars to over $8,000, depending on the size of the area.